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Mayor lifts some COVID-19 restrictions, mask mandate stays

Vicksburg’s mask mandate remains in effect, while some COVID-19 restrictions are now lifted under a new emergency order announced Friday by Mayor George Flaggs Jr.

Flaggs said the masks must be worn whenever social distancing is not possible. He said he wants more information from other sources before lifting the mandate.

“Bottom line, I need more data before I lift the mask mandate for Vicksburg,” he said.

The new order, which became effective Friday, runs through April 1.

It lifts the capacity restrictions on restaurants, outdoor sports complexes and multi-field facilities, reception halls and conference centers and group gatherings, religious services and funerals.

“You can return to your church,” Flaggs said. “And we are about to bring Fuzzy Johnson, Bazinsky Park and everything back for our youth.”

In addition to the easing of capacity restrictions, Flaggs said restaurants and businesses will no longer need to check the temperatures of their employees or customers.

As with the mask mandate, the juvenile curfew, which is in effect from 7:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. each day, will remain.

“We still see signs of crime in our city related to juveniles. I had every intention of lifting it but we’re still seeing crime committed by juveniles in the city of Vicksburg and I’m compelled to keep this on,” Flaggs said. 

Also, Flaggs Friday reinstated the city’s special law enforcement task force, which increases the number of patrol officers and police personnel each Thursday through Sunday.

The task force, which was first put in place on July 15 and then removed a number of weeks later, calls for a minimum of 11 patrol officers on duty with a watch commander and deputy chief patrolling the city each Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday night from 7:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.

“I think we’ve got one of the best police departments, we’ve got some of the best leadership but every now and then the team has to reorganize,” Flaggs said.

Besides the mask mandate and the juvenile curfew, the following restrictions remain in effect:

4Masks are required for employees of restaurants, bars, retail businesses, grocery stores, salons, barbershops, other personal care facilities, tattoo parlors and pet groomers.

4Businesses must continue to sanitize high-contact areas, break rooms, door handles and carts.

4Restaurants and bars that sell or serve alcoholic beverages must end sales and consumption at midnight and close by 1 a.m.

The current COVID-19 emergency orders in place for Warren County, established by the Warren County Board of Supervisors, is set to expire April 5.

The county’s order also includes a mask mandate and social distancing requirements.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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